What is the "Normal" Age for My Daughter to Start Her Period?

My 13 year-old daughter hasn’t started her period. Is that normal?

When it comes to puberty, what’s “normal” is a big topic of discussion and concern for both children and their parents. There is a range of normal variation with some children beginning, progressing and advancing through puberty sooner than  others.  Puberty normally tends to start between ages 9 and 13. The exact age when puberty hits varies depending on the individual and includes several factors such as body type and family history. For example, is your daughter is skinny?  Or did you not get your period until you were 12 or 13? Those factors may affect the timing of your own daughter’s development.

Puberty in girls begin when their bodies begin producing the estrogen hormone. That sets off several physical changes including increase in height, breast development, widening hips, and body hair growth. A girl typically will get her period about 18 to 24 months after her breasts begin to develop. If your daughter didn’t begin puberty until she was 11, for example, it makes sense she wouldn’t start menstruating until she’s at least 13. Also, once your daughter begins getting her period, it may be very irregular at first so she may get it once and then not again for a few months. As time goes by, most girls would begin to settle into a more regular and predictable menstrual cycle after the first year or two after their initial menses.

I wouldn’t worry too much about your daughter unless she hasn’t started showing any signs of puberty or if she still hasn’t had her period by the time she’s 15. You can then ask her doctor about your concerns.

Your daughter’s body is going through a lot of changes – including emotional changes -- right now and she’s probably worried she’s not normal so please reassure her that everyone develops at different times. But eventually we all enter adulthood sooner or later!  

By Dr. Michael Jakubowski, pediatrician, ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Appleton.